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Jets own worst enemies in 27-23 loss to Dolphins

Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets looks

Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Silence filled the interview room as Brandon Marshall struggled to find the right words.

In the aftermath of another erratic outing by his quarterback and a 27-23 loss to the rival Dolphins on Sunday, Marshall contemplated how best to express himself.

“I’m upset. I’m disappointed. That’s the best thing I can say,” the receiver finally said after a 19-second pause. “I’m trying to be a pro here and answer the questions . . .

“You guys know how I feel about Fitz. I stood on the table for him this whole offseason and I would do it again. That wouldn’t change. But we’re here to produce, and this falls on he and I. We have to make plays.”

And therein lies the issue with the 2016 Jets (3-6). No one is producing consistently — least of all their $12-million quarterback, whose brief exit with a left knee injury was sandwiched between two interceptions.

“It all falls on the quarterback,” said Fitzpatrick, who is scheduled for an MRI on Monday. “There are a lot of things that I could have done better today and didn’t.”

Bryce Petty (2-for-2, 19 yards) replaced the injured veteran for one series. But if healthy, Fitzpatrick will remain their starter.

“Ryan is our quarterback,” said Todd Bowles, who benched him after the Week 5 loss at Arizona but went back to him after Geno Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury six days later.

Whether it was penalties (10 for 77 yards), defensive lapses or Fitzpatrick’s errant throws, the Jets found plenty of ways to sabotage themselves Sunday — and yet they still had a chance to win late in the fourth quarter. That is, until a special-teams penalty on Antonio Allen gave the Dolphins another kickoff-return opportunity and Kenyan Drake returned the second kickoff 96 yards with 5:15 left for the winning touchdown.

But the final score masked the depths of the dysfunction that continues to plague the Jets. And the underachieving play this season begins with Fitzpatrick, who leads the NFL with 13 interceptions. He made it clear last week that the new goal was to win out. But their winning streak didn’t last more than two games.

Asked about his first interception, which was thrown directly at 6-6, 335-pound Jordan Phillips, Fitzpatrick said: “They dropped a defensive tackle I didn’t see.”

Miami capitalized with a 29-yard field goal to take a 20-13 lead in the third quarter.

His second interception occurred when he launched a jump ball toward the back of the end zone with seven minutes left. Because of miscommunication, no Jets receiver was there and Bobby McCain made the pick.

“We didn’t really have room for error when the season started,” Bowles said.

Now they have significantly less. “This one hurt,” running back Matt Forte said.

Marshall, who caught only six passes for 45 yards, insisted “there still is hope” but quickly acknowledged “the hole is deeper.”

He and Fitzpatrick insisted their friendship isn’t fracturing.

“There’s nothing to read into,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our relationship, we understand each other, and it’s nothing more than that.”

But their connection on the field certainly has short-circuited. And the offense’s regression is obvious, whether Marshall chooses to acknowledge it publicly or not.

“It’s just frustrating,” said the receiver, who was shown on TV having a testy in-game conversation with Fitzpatrick. “This whole year falls on Fitz and I. We’re the leaders on that side of the ball and we’re not getting it done.

“I’m a wide receiver. I’m open every single play. I’m expecting the ball every single play, but that’s never the case. I’m that type of guy. I’m competitive. I’m fiery.

“After we get three or four penalties on [Byron Maxwell], we throw a post to Jalin Marshall for a touchdown. When we’re rolling like that and our offense is clicking like that, I don’t have to always catch the ball to impact the ballgame. But when defenses fear me making a play, that’s what happens. To answer your question, yes, I want the ball every single play.”


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